Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Trail on the trail

Monday turned out to be a somewhat sunnier and, thus, slightly warmer day than originally forecast. However, at this time of year, the weather can and does change quickly and so it's a tough call for even the most experienced forecasters to stay on top of things. October in Ottawa is often a breezy affair as the predominant weather pattern changes from the sultry lassitude of summer to the chilled wet of autumn.

Consequently, we thought it would be a good idea to head out on a cycling venture. It actually hadn't rained a great deal recently and so Adam thought it would be a good opportunity to show to me some more of this city's trail network.

The city of Ottawa, in conjunction with the National Capital Commission (NCC) has a plan to create an intricate network of recreational trails from the Mer Bleue/Green's Creek area to the east of here and joining with the trail network around Shirley's Bay to the west of here. These recreational trails are multi-use which means anyone can hike, presumably ski in the winter and - on Monday - cycle through it.

While the colours of the foliage in autumn have already peaked here and the now everpresent winds are s-l-o-w-l-y stripping the branches of their leaves, we thought there was still enough colour and beauty to take a video of me on my Catrike Trail. Adam filmed me from his mountain bike as his Catrike Speed has too low a clearance to easily negotiate the thick clumps of soggy, drag-inducing leaves. In fact, for most of the journey on the trail itself, I had to gear down to the first sprocket. My Trail performed well anyway but it's really designed for road use, despite the name. In fact, at a couple of points, even the lowest gear still had me struggling a bit. Partly it's that I hadn't been out too much lately and so my fitness level had dropped a bit (it happens with startling ease) but it was also that it was late afternoon when my energy level can drop pretty precipitously. It didn't help that we were trying to negotiate trails that consisted mostly of 10+ centimetre thick leaves. Whenever we stopped, we would take a few seconds to pick leaves and twigs from places like the idler on my trike and even the brakes on Adam's mountain bike. It was slow going, mostly because of me. At one point, even in the lowest possible gear, I was still slipping a bit unless I crawled along at the amazing speed of a glacier. Yes, I was more than up to the task but it was still a struggle at some points.

Once we were back on the paved road and heading home, I was able to sail along at my usual speeds of anywhere between 12-23 km/hr. The total distance for this trip was 11.77 kilometres.

You take what you can get at this time of year.


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